IMSA Spotlight: Daniel Morad
Driver: No. 28 Alegra Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R
What has winning a race like the Rolex 24 at Daytona done for you and your career?
“Winning the Rolex 24 at Daytona is something that not many drivers can claim. To achieve this result in my first attempt, after having such a bumpy road to get to this opportunity, makes it that much more satisfying to be honest.
“From 2011 to early 2015, I was without a drive and was forced to take an alternative route in my life. I became a driving instructor for a manufacturers driving experiences and product training when I was without a race seat.
“That’s where I continued to develop my skills as a man. I kept pounding the ground to try and get back into a race seat, and Carlos de Quesada was the man who gave me that one chance. He let me drive his Porsche GT3 Cup car in 2015.
“Those few laps were enough to show what I was able to offer behind the wheel, but also equally as important, what I could offer off the track with the whole team. Carlos presented me this amazing opportunity to race with his team in the 2017 Rolex 24 at Daytona after winning the Porsche GT3 Cup Canada and North American titles in 2016.
“2017 has started in the best possible way and it certainly looks pretty nice on my resume now to be able to call myself a Rolex 24 Hour at Daytona winner. The Rolex watch on my wrist doesn’t look too bad either!”
At what point in the race did you realize that you and your team were going to have a good shot to win the GT Daytona class and take home a Rolex?
“When we announced our Porsche GT3 R program, we had a great feeling with the whole package that we brought to the track. Starting with our car, we knew that we would great support from Porsche.
“We had all of the right ingredients and also the right amount of experience and knowledge to get it done. Collectively, we agreed that if we played the first 18 hours of the race ultra conservative, maintaining as perfect of a car as possible, we would have a chance at the end.
“Our pace was great all through testing, practice and qualifying. We stayed within two laps of the leaders through the entire race, while not putting a single mark on the car. With two hours to go, we knew that we had the car to pull it off. Everybody did their part.
“The tipping point was the last pit stop. Our crew used some wizardry in the last pit stop and got us out into the lead. At that point, we just had to manage the gap to the car behind. It was just an incredible feeling within that last hour.”
What was it like having Spencer Pumpelly on the box helping to call race strategy?
“We had an amazing group of engineers and strategists on the pit box. Guys like Bob Knox and Larry Hahn, who have 30 years of experience, and also working with factory teams in the past. Spencer has worked with Larry Hahn in the past, which just added to our amazing team chemistry.”
The Porsche package was quick at the recent test at Sebring, how do you feel about your chances are to pick up another win in a major endurance race?
“Porsche currently have a very competitive overall package. IMSA has invested a lot of time and effort into their BoP process and they seem to be doing an outstanding job right now. Lap times have been incredibly close between several manufactures, especially at the last test in Sebring. We’re looking forward to another close race and finish.”
How much different is it for you this year driving in GTD after driving in the Prototype class at Sebring last year with Alegra?
“The GT Daytona platform is very exciting for me personally. Utilizing international GT3-spec cars is great for a young driver like myself because it gives me the opportunity to go around the world with the experience I have on this platform.
“The Daytona Prototype that we ran last year was a very last minute effort and we actually ran very well considering the circumstances. We actually ran as high as P3 overall last year when I was driving in my wet stint, catching guys like Scott Pruett and Filipe Albuquerque, at seconds per lap.
“We only ran the Prototype for the one race, but we ran a GT3 Cup car for the last two seasons. Jumping from that platform to the GTD level is a very nice step up. The Porsche GT3 Cup car provides such a good baseline for guys like me who are coming up through the ranks. It forces you to get the most out of a car with very limited balance tools or set up change opportunities.
“The Porsche development system got me to where I am today and provided me with the right skill set to attack the 12 Hours of Sebring.”